On-page SEO: what is it?
In our most recent SEO for beginners blog, we took a look at some SEO keyword research tips. You might also like to read our blog about how search engines work before moving on to the next topic: on-page SEO.
Already mastered the basics? Then let’s jump right into it.
What is it?
As you already know, SEO is the practice of improving the quantity and, most importantly, quality of the traffic visiting your website through organic search.
Part of an effective SEO strategy is ensuring that your web pages are optimised accordingly. This means creating web pages that rank for your target keywords and satisfy your users questions.
On-page SEO is simply the practice of creating web pages that answer queries better than any other page on the web, and also includes elements beyond content, such as image optimisation and formatting.
Crafting high-quality content
Now that you’ve got your list of target keywords as a result of your top-notch keyword research, it’s time to put them into practice.
First, start sorting these keywords into groups of similar topics – these groups will form the basis of your web pages. It’s important to group your keywords in this way to avoid thin content – that is, where you create pages for every variation of your keywords which results in a confusing user experience.
Once you’ve got your web pages planned out by topic, ask yourself – what unique value does your page have that makes it better than the other pages ranking for your keywords?
Also take the time to evaluate the SERP feature that could be applied to each keyword topic. For example, take note of whether the content could be formatted in lists or bullet points – these often appear right at the top of a results page, above all the other organic results.
Once you’ve done that, you now need to draft some amazing content – which is easier said than done. Above all, focus on answering your searcher’s query effectively. Look at similar sites and improve where your rivals’ pages are lacking – it might take some hard work, but you’ll reap the results in organic traffic!
For example, we recently wrote a blog on how you can increase traffic to your website. This blog directly answers a question that searchers are typing into Google (how can I increase traffic to my website?). We optimised it for the keyword phrase and then listed practical, effective steps they can take to increase their website traffic.
On-page SEO goes much further than content alone. Your page will need other technical optimisations to help boost it up the rankings as much as possible.
Title tags are super-important, as they are what shows up in search results. They are a descriptive, HTML element that specifies the title of your page; for example, the title tag of this page is ‘On-page SEO: what is it? | Blog | Represent’.
You need to make a strong first impression – keep them snappy (no more than 60 characters long), intriguing and also include the keyword, preferably at the start.
Bulky images are often the biggest culprit when it comes to slowing down web pages. A slow page speed is bad news from an SEO perspective because Google uses page speed as one of its signals to rank pages, so your ranking could be negatively affected if your page is slow.
A slow page speed also means Google’s crawlers can crawl fewer pages within their allocated ‘crawl budget’ (the number of pages crawled and indexed on a website within a given timeframe).
To speed up the pace and stop users clicking away in frustration, compress your images and make sure you choose the right format (e.g. JPEG for non-hi-res images, GIF for animations).
Take the time to consider your text size and colour (Google recommends 16 point), your use of headings (especially on lengthy pages) and using bullet points to help your users skim your page. The supporting on-page media is also important, as is the use of bold and italics to add emphasis on your key points.
Although it’s important to include internal links, be wary of how many you use – too many and you risk decreasing the value that each page passes on the next one. Too many links can also be overwhelming and unhelpful to users, so only link when it’s necessary and relevant to do so.
These are just some of the many things you can do to enhance on-page SEO that go beyond the content on a page.
A properly optimised website will be hard work, but it’s worth it to know you’re doing the absolute most to give your users an amazing experience (and boost your rankings in the process!).